Banyana set for 'Mission South America'

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6 Feburary 2012

South Africa's national women's football team, Banyana Banyana, will undertake an 18-day tour of South America in preparation for the Cyprus Women's Cup, which forms part of their buildup to the London Olympic Games.

The Banyana squad will be made up of 22 players, with US-based goalkeeper Roxanne Barker and experienced central defender Janine van Wyk having been added to the group that spent three weeks last month focusing on endurance and strength training in Stellenbosch.

Under the guidance of coach Joseph Mkhonza, the team will jet out of South Africa on Wednesday. They will be based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, where they will play against a Brazilian club side, and the national senior women’s teams of Argentina, Peru and Chile.

Two to return home

The tournament in Cyprus requires 22 players to be registered by each country, so with experienced midfielders Russian-based Nompumelelo Nyandeni and USA-based Kylie Ann Louw joining Banyana Banyana in Cyprus, two players from the travelling party will have to return home. Those players will be decided towards the end of the Brazil tour.

Banyana will travel directly from South America to Cyprus on 23 February. The tournament takes place from 28 February to 6 March.

"Following the highly successful national training camp held in Stellenbosch last month, it was crucial for Banyana Banyana to have a few friendly matches before competing against some of the world's leading women's football nations at the Cyprus Women's Cup," said Mkhonza.

Last year, they played mainly against African opposition en route to qualifying for the 2012 London Olympic Games and playing at the All-Africa Games held in Mozambique.

Different styles

"It's good for the team that the players are getting opportunities to play against different styles of football, like against the South American teams and then Asian, Australasian and European opponents at the Cyprus Women's Cup," Mkhonza said.

South Africa has been drawn in a group that includes South Korea, New Zealand and Northern Ireland for the 12-nation Cyprus Women's Cup.

The Banyana Banyana support team has been major boosted by the addition of the vastly experienced South African under-23 national team coach Ephraim "Shakes" Mashaba, who will serve as the technical advisor to Mkhonza.

Another addition is Brazil-based Bafana Bafana physical trainer Francisco "Chico" Gonzalez. There is additional support in the form of a biokinetics consultant, masseur and a training session and match analyst.

BANYANA BANYANA SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Thoko Mndaweni, Roxanne Barker, Mputle Ntshatsana
Defenders: Gabisile Hlumbane, Janine van Wyk, Refiloe Jane, Amanda Sister, Zamantosi Cele, Simphiwe Masina, Nothando Vilakazi
Midfielders: Mary Ntsweng, Memory Makhanya, Nomathemba Ntsibande, Morifi Chuene, Nondyebo Mgudu, Nocawe Skiti
Strikers: Sanah Mollo, Noko Matlou, Leandra Smeda, Zanele Sukazi, Amanda Dlamini (captain), Andiswe Mgcoyi

SAinfo reporter

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